Global Marathon 2012

Visualizing Global Marathon


Video broadcasts, chat room, photo stream, and more. Use the Dashboard as your portal to the event this weekend.

Frequently Asked Questions

2011 Marathon Recap

Rules & Prizes

We’re awarding over $15,000 in prize money across a handful of categories. Get the details here.


More than 1,000 design and computer science students from 150 universities in 30 countries will be participating this weekend in the largest-ever student data visualization competition, hosted by and sponsored by GE and Google.


Around 90% of the data in the world today has been created in just the last two years. Not only are we producing more data than ever before — 2.5 quintillion bytes every day — we’re generating entirely new types of data from sources like social media, sensor networks, digital health records, electronic trading, and smart grids. Design is how we interface with all this data — and it’s helping us better understand the systems that make up the world, generate new knowledge about ourselves, our cities, and our planet, and support better decision-making across all levels of society.

The three challenges in front of you reflect three unique attributes of the data revolution: Real-Time, Big, and Social.

Real-Time: The velocity at which we now capture data — from sensor networks or search engines, for example — allows us to monitor systems in real-time and intervene before it’s too late. Challenge #1 is about the design of real-time information.

Big: The volume of data we now generate is unprecedented. Making sense of Big Data is no small task — relying on science, design, and technology. Challenge #2 is about using the scale of a data set to visualize an entire system in all its complexity — without allowing this complexity to overpower your design.

Social: Within the “exhaust” we leave behind when using social media and mobile phones is a treasure trove of new insights about human behavior, the flow of information, and the structure of society. Challenge #3 is about using this new type of data to reveal how society reacted to a major world event.


Our gratitude goes out to everyone who made this event possible:

Our fantastic lineup of speakers: Richard Saul Wurman, Alberto Cairo, and Kim Rees.

The expert designers who answered participants questions in Q&A; Broadcasts: Ben Hosken, Scott Murray, Moritz Stefaner, and Mahir Yavuz.

A special thanks to Santiago Ortiz, who collected the data sets and worked with us to craft the challenges.

To all our meetup partners: amberPlatform, Centro Universitário Belas Artes de São Paulo, Centro Universitário Senac, CMoDA, Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, Ecole Supérieure d'Infographie – Albert Jacquard, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, KU Leuven, L E'cole de design Nantes Atlantique, Maryland Institute of College Art, Ohio State University, Politecnico di Milano, randomwalks, School of Visual Arts, Strathmore University, University College London, University of Applied Sciences Mainz, University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, University of Brighton, University of Hong Kong, University of the West of England.

And to our jury of leading data and design professionals: